Archive for the 'San Francisco Giants' Category
Matt Cain has just allowed 9 hits and 7 runs in the bottom of the third inning at St. Louis this morning. So, for the fourth time in their last five games, a Giants starter cannot hold the opposition below 4 runs. Over the team’s last 11 road games, they’ve allowed 10, 11, 6, 10, 10, 5, 4, 6, 9, and now 7 in what is now the fifth inning.
Not much more to say. Whatever is going on appears to be happening to every pitcher at the same time. I stand by my earlier post; either the league has figured out what the Giants overall pitching approach is, or every pitcher on the team spent the entire off-season watching highlights of their title parade and eating Taco Bell.
Kickham notwithstanding, but what the hell has happened to our starting pitchers?
Lincecum has allowed an awful 34 runs in 60 innings.
Cain has allowed a staggering 39 runs in 64 innings.
Zito has allowed a Zito-esque 34 runs in 56 innings.
Bumgarner has allowed a pretty decent 27 runs in 72 innings
Vogelsong has allowed an astounding 44 runs in 46 innings.
Kershaw has allowed 18 runs in 80 innings.
Zimmerman has allowed 15 runs in 73 innings
Corbin has allowed 14 in 68 innings
Harvey has allowed 16 in 78 innings.
Our starters have the fourth worst record and ERA in the league. This is supposed to be the strength of the team. What the hell is going on? Anyone?
Every time I turn the game on, it’s already 4-1. If it wasn’t for our league best offense, we’d be in last place by a mile.
Don’t expect any significant changes. These guys have to figure out what the league has figured out about them. They’d better get it done soon. The Giants are about to be on the road for most of the next month, and starting every game down 4 runs is a recipe for last place.
UPDATE: Not that it pertains to this post, but the Giants are down 5-2 in the 7th inning, and the three batters that just came to the plate (Belt, Torres and Crawford), and all three of them swung at the first pitch and flied out. Unbelievable.
UPDATE, PART II: Well, Lincecum looks completely lost. The only question is how much longer can the Giants keep running him out there. I can understand Bochy letting him hit with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, with the team about to be away for most of the next month, but Holy Christ, he walked out for the top of the fifth and just shit the bed completely. What the hell?
Sandoval isn’t helping. 2 for his last 25. Swinging at every pitch. Jeez.
As tough as it is watching Lincecum struggle, it is easily the most surprising and astounding turnaround to watch Barry –the Hit Man– Zito turn around his career. Kudos to Zito for handling his difficult time with class and dignity, never sniping, complaining, or really doing anything to convey his dissatisfaction with anything that was happening to him during his first five seasons with the team.
Really, that is perhaps the most inspiring part of his story. Between the horrible pitching, the constant pressure on him because of his huge contract, the booing, the demotion for the 2010 playoff run…. Zito has been a model player in the clubhouse, in the press, and apparently, everywhere else. The result is a player whose return to success is easy to root for, and is really one of the best redemption story imaginable. A player who is celebrated for his ability to turn around what had once seemed to be the end of his career and not only play well, but to even contribute to a championship of his own.
…. “It gets back to competing,” (Bruce) Bochy said. “It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in this game: pitching, swinging the bat, playing defense – it’s all about competing. He’s as tough a competitor as I’ve been around.”
His success so far this season has been a breath of fresh air, and reminds us that comebacks can happen, that people can overcome adversity, and they can do it with grace and class.
Good for him, and good for the Giants.
UPDATE: Jonah Keri goes deeper on Lincecum in Grantland today:
…. Baseball Prospectus writer and pitching mechanics expert Doug Thorburn addressed this in a pair of articles last year: Lincecum’s delivery depends on perfect mechanics, and that trademark gigantic stride. As he wrote in an e-mail:
…. He was able to generate ridiculous momentum early in his career (a huge advantage), and he found a timing pattern with it that he could repeat, which was critical for commanding the fastball and keeping that split-change buried under the zone. That stride and momentum required excellent lower body strength, and when his delivery fell out of whack back in 2010, the solution was rooted in conditioning — he had lost his timing because he could not consistently generate his usual stride pattern. Last season, his momentum was noticeably down when compared to his peak, and he struggled to find his timing for most of the season — I thought it was telling that he did so well out of the ’pen, where he could go all out rather than conserve stamina.
Thorburn expressed some mild optimism that Lincecum could bounce back a bit if he can fix his mechanics, which could in turn allow him to better control where his pitches are going. But the beast of four years ago, the guy with the fastball that hit the high-90s and the split-change that was one of the most unhittable pitches in the game? That guy’s almost certainly not coming back. Research on pitcher aging curves by Mike Fast and Jeremy Greenhouse suggests that a pitcher this young shouldn’t be suffering from this steep of a performance decline, and that it can be very tough to improve once that decline starts.
The worst thing is that I agree with him. If the loss in velocity, now around 5+ MPH since his rookie season, is unfixable, he’s either heading to a closer role, or he’s done. Either way, I think it’s safe to say Sabean looks like Nostradamus by holding the line on Lincecum’s salary demands over these last couple of years. At any time over these last three years or so, Lincecum could have been signed to a five or six-year deal that right now would be terrifying to the team. Instead, they failed/succeeded in ensuring that whatever deal they were discussing, it didn’t work for someone, and the Giants are actually looking at being able to walk away from Lincecum should this season be another train wreck.
UPDATE, Part II: Well, today did nothing to dispel my concerns. Lincecum looked completely lost, missing his spots by a foot or more. The hitters bailed him out again, but, holy Christ, he looks awful.
Terrific start to the season by the pitching staff. Barry Zito’s seven shutout innings today gave the starters a run of 26 innings without allowing an earned run so far. Not quite as impressive as the Nationals domination (1 run allowed total, in three starts), but not too shabby.
The hitters haven’t caught up yet, but not too many teams are scoring runs in bunches anyway.
Congratulations to Buster Posey and the SF Giants. Posey signed a new contract, locking him up til 2021 for the tidy little sum of $167 million dollars. Wow.
I sure hope he can stay healthy.
Sorry for the lack of posts.
As the SF Giants head into their defense of last year’s World Championship, I’ve been paying attention on the periphery, as work and family have kept me on my toes. I’m happy to see Brandon Belt looking like he’s ready for a breakout season. He could help alleviate some of the drop off that’s expected from players like Scutaro, who can’t possibly repeat last seasons scorching .360 batting average as a Giant.
But reading today’s little piece about Pablo Sandoval “accepting” his body weight for the next couple of seasons makes me more than a little worried:
…. Pablo Sandoval came to San Francisco Giants camp fat this year, like he does pretty much every year, because there are two truths about Pablo Sandoval, and one of them is he does not do skinny.
The other is that he’s a remarkable hitter, preternaturally gifted like only a handful of players, maybe less. At 5-foot-11 (give or take – no, take – two inches) and 262 pounds (give or take – no, give – 20 pounds), Sandoval hits everything everywhere anytime anywhere. If anyone in baseball today is going to stroke a single off a pitch that bounces before it reaches home plate, it’s him.
…. “I’ve got this year and next year to change all the things,” Sandoval said. “It’s going to take me a while, but I can do it. I know I can do it. You need to learn. You need to grow up. You need to step up and know the difference between what you can do and what you can’t.”
Yeah, well, I’m a bit skeptical. As the article points out, Pablo’s missed at least 45 games each of the last two seasons, and whether you think the weight is the reason or not, allowing yourself to just walk around 40 pounds overweight all the time…. as a professional athlete, that’s just something Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy must be concerned about.
You’re talking about defending a championship, every team in the league is coming after you. After what happened in 2011, everyone associated with the Giants has to be thinking about heading into the season with a different attitude. Roll with it might work when you’re trying to win a title, it doesn’t work when you’re defending it.
Hat Tip to Baseball Musings
Buster Posey won the NL MVP Award:
…. Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants was voted the NL Most Valuable Player on Thursday after returning from a devastating leg injury and
becoming the first catcherdating in nyc in 70 years to win the league’s batting title. Posey received 27 of 32 first-place votes and 422 points from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, outdistancing 2011 winner Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, who was second with 285 points.
Congratulations to Buster, the SF Giants, and –of course– the Giants training staff, who worked so hard in helping him recover from that devastating injury last season.
Of all the outcomes I imagined for tonight’s game 5 against the Cards, Barry Zito throwing 7 2/3 shutout innings wasn’t one of them. In an almost unpr
ecedented performance, Zito pitched the game of his life, took the Giants’
season on his back, and shut down the hottest offense in the playoffs as the Giants won 5-0 to bring the series back to SF.
…. NL MVP, Redux
…. Larry Granillo, over at Baseball Prospectus agrees with me:
…. Ryan Braun is not going to win the MVP award this year. Even with the Brewers surging in
to the playoffs thanks to an unprecedented triple swoon by the other National League Wild Card contenders, there are, ahem, reasons that Braun won’t walk away with the trophy. One of those reasons plays catcher for the San Francisco Giants.
…. In 50 fewer plate appearances, Posey has only eight fewer hits than Braun. That’s enough to help put Posey’s .333 batting average at third in the league. He also has six more doubles than Braun despite the fewer at-bats and a respectable-unto-itself 22 home runs. Posey’s .409 on-base percentage is also 20 points higher than Braun’s .389, while his 73 runs scored and 93 RBIs complete the all-around great season Posey has put together.
Braun’s numbers seem to be the easy winner at first-glance. However, the run-scoring environments between the two players’ home parks are very different, making a straight comparison a bit more complicated. Looking at True Average, which takes these factors into account, the picture changes. Posey’s .348 TAv is a clear leader over the .334 from Braun. Both are excellent, but Posey’s numbers playing for the Giants are the superior set. (Other
whole-value batting metrics you may
see around the web have similar findings.) When you couple this with the fact that Posey plays the large majority of his games as a catcher—a position still starved for offensive talent—while Braun plays the offense-heavy left field, it makes perfect sense that Braun won’t be repeating as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
…. In game, complain
There’s no justification for not pinch-hitting for Zito in the bottom of the sixth, and absolutely no justification for having him start the fucking seventh. Are we expecting his
83 MPH fastball to throw a complete game here? Really bad de
cision by Bochy here, regardless of whether they give up runs here or not.
You get a 4-0 lead into the sixth with Zito, you have to treat that like you just won the lottery. Get him out of there, try and extend
your lead, and give the game to your bullpen. Letting him hit with two men on and two outs is just trying to win brownie points, and it’s total bullshit.
UPDATE: Nice win, even though it was close.
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